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UC High Boys Soccer Wins League Championship and CIF Title

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UC High Boys Soccer Wins League Championship and CIF Title

The UC High Boys Soccer Team celebrates after a victory against Crawford High for the Division Three CIF Title.

The UC High Boys Soccer Team celebrates after a victory against Crawford High for the Division Three CIF Title.

Matt O'Malley

The UC High Boys Soccer Team celebrates after a victory against Crawford High for the Division Three CIF Title.

Matt O'Malley

Matt O'Malley

The UC High Boys Soccer Team celebrates after a victory against Crawford High for the Division Three CIF Title.

Kayli Sandoval, News Editor

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   Fans roaring as the team is up by three going into halftime. Complete shutout. Five to zero, and the UC High Boys Soccer Team wins the Division Three San Diego Section CIF Title against Crawford High, March 3.

   According to a high school sports statistics site, this year’s Boys Soccer Team finished with an overall record of 16-4-3, the best record the program has had since the 2012-2013 season. The boys averaged a total of approximately 2.4 goals per match (p/m), 1.9 assists p/m, and 5.4 saves p/m, all stats well above the high school national average. The team made a total of 52 goals throughout the season and ranked 155 nationally (

   After years of unsuccessful seasons and the changing of coaches, it seems the program has finally clicked together and set the correct mentality. Senior Co-Captain Alex Churness explained, “Last year, we didn’t make CIF. The year before we won two games. We have not made CIF in four years. This was our first time making CIF and we won it, which is really cool. The new coaching helped out a lot.”

   Head Coach Chris Tolles stated, “I was the third head coach in four years for the program and just wanted to provide some stability for the boys. I just tried to establish a positive, fun environment for the team. I am a possession style coach and wanted to implement that style with the team early on.”

   In a possession style of play, the team keeps the ball for the majority of the time played. “Our most successful and I would say most deadliest formation was when we were in our 4-3-3 formation. We produced many goals in that formation with Alex Churness, George Kinshofer, and Cole Bechtel running the front line,” explained Starting Freshman Center Attacking Midfielder Jack Amos.

   Senior Left Wing George Kinshofer said, “At the beginning of the year, we started to struggle a little bit after the first couple games, but we just came together as a team after we took our first loss and had a talk about the fact that we needed to make it better for the next games, and everyone really came together after that and started putting in more work and we started winning.”

   Tolles explained that after the two losses early in the season, “Instead of pointing fingers and blaming each other, the team came together and changed their season. They trained hard each day and committed themselves to getting better. With each training session and game, the boys became more and more comfortable with each other. They adapted to the possession style we had been working on and became the best passing team I saw this year. The defense was extremely hard to break down and our offense clicked at the right time. The combination of the two allowed us to win a lot of games.”

   Kinshofer stated, “He [Tolles] brought a new winning mentality to the team. All the players really adapted to his style and liked him a lot, which helped us a lot his year.”

   Senior Center Mid Hikaru Furie added that the mentality of each player was to win every game and practice hard every day for an opportunity of getting to the finals. He explained that one of the biggest differences compared to last season was that the coach trusted all the players and all the player were able to trust him, in return.

   “This season was different, mainly because of the new coach — a lot of the same players, but it was a winning season, and everything was just clicking this year. It was definitely the best season. Since the beginning of the year, we had workouts, runs, stairs, and everything that we did all paid off in the end,” said Kinshofer.

   “Being my first year here, I leaned heavily on the seniors to provide leadership and motivate the younger players on the team. The seniors, led by our captains Alex Churness and Sage Corona, were not going to let this team fail. After some tough seasons in the past, they were extremely motivated to end their high school careers on a high note,” Tolles stated. “My goals at the beginning of the season were to win a league title and qualify for the playoffs. With the talent at this school that should and will be the goal every season. The boys were focused and driven as they wanted to have a successful season. The team put in a lot of time and effort throughout the season and improved with each training session and match.”

   Kinshofer continued, “The chemistry was great. The whole year we were like a family. Most of the kids on the team, I’ve been playing with since elementary school. We’re all good friends now, on and off the field. The chemistry was one of our greatest assets this year.”

   Churness added, “We’re all really close. We’ve been friends for a long time, and it’s pretty much like we’re brothers because we’re such good friends. There were no arguments, no fights, just fun. It helped us on the field because we just trusted each other more and it’s just easier to play with people that you like than people you don’t like.”

   Amos explained, “As my first year in the UC program, I can conclude that we are heading in the right direction with our new coach, Coach Tolles. The years to come will be a rebuilding process since many seniors are leaving this year.”

   As it can be very emotional for the seniors to say goodbye to high school play, and teammates they’ve played with throughout high school, fortunately enough, it will not be the end for all. Churness happily explained, “I’m playing D1 soccer next year at USD and hopefully after that, I want to play professional soccer.”

   “Hard work and dedication. This team wanted to win every time they stepped on the field. We were not always the best team on the field every game, but we certainly worked harder than every team we played. They wanted to improve and get better each time they were out there. The senior leadership of this team is what made a league championship and a CIF title possible.”

   Three days after the CIF Championship, UC High played their first game against Villa Park in the 2018 CIF Southern California Regional Boys Soccer Championship – Division III tournament. Unfortunately, our Cents lost and officially concluded the 2017-2018 season. Amos said, “Honestly, the CIF regionals was a plus added to our CIF title and league title. As a team, we were not looking past CIF into regionals; it was more like an extra prize for our breakthrough year.”

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UC High Boys Soccer Wins League Championship and CIF Title